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Download app to organize shopping trips

Locally, WinCo offers Aisle411 access in Gresham
by: Shanda Tice The Aisle411 application for smartphones includes Gresham’s WinCo. After downloading the free program, customers can use the free app to locate items on their lists, find out about items on sale and even look up recipes that will work with the food on your list.

Using mobile technology to locate bargains for services and goods has become commonplace for many consumers.

And now managing a shopping list and getting through the grocery store faster is as easy as a tap on your smartphone. Download the free app Aisle411 and navigating stores becomes a snap.

'Aisle411 empowers anyone with a mobile phone to find products and promotions quickly and easily in retail stores,' said Nathan Pettyjohn, chief executive officer for the mobile app developer. 'With the aisle411 application, users can instantly locate products in stores down to the specific section of the aisle, manage shopping lists and find mobile coupons. Aisle411 is really a comprehensive mobile retail shopping solution.'

Aisle411 hit the Oregon market recently, after WinCo Foods deployed the application's use in all of its' 79 stores, including the Gresham location. The application is currently offered to iPhone and Mobile Web users, with the Android platform expected later this year. Best of all, the download price is a bargain in itself - free.

Founded in St. Louis in 2008, aisle411 was the first to market a mobile product search service intended to save consumers time and money. Big box retailers, home improvement and grocery stores were the first to get on board with the app, which came about after Pettyjohn had wandered around a hardware store looking for one particular item.

'This was born out of frustration over wasting time in the store,' he said. 'I spent 10 minutes looking for a surge protector. I knew the technology was in the store system to locate the product, but it was frustrating trying to find someone who could tell me where it was. This puts the power in the shopper's hands. Tap on your phone or say the product name and find it quicker.'

According to Pettyjohn, the service is free to retailers, with product manufacturers picking up the application's maintenance costs through advertising. To date, more than 2,000 locations nationwide are on board with aisle411, including Albertsons, Safeway and Lowe's Home Improvement stores in Washington State and WinCo Foods in the metro area. But expect to see more widespread availability in stores, Pettyjohn said, as the company is aiming to have more than 10,000 locations signed on by the first quarter of 2012.

'We're seeing it used mostly in the grocery channel right now,' Pettyjohn said. 'That's a habitual place where people go and they'll use it. But retailers have said they know their shoppers are mobile and they're using mobile apps to find deals and expedite their shopping trips. As more shoppers embrace mobile technology to find products in stores, we anticipate rapid growth among retail locations in the U.S. and internationally.'

What makes aisle411 appealing is its ease of use. Create a list in the application and select the WinCo store where you'll be shopping. Check in on the phone once you arrive and a map tab will bring up a layout of the store, with icons locating the aisles with the items you need. Aisle411 also tracks what you're buying as you check items off your list and periodically offers in-store specials matched to what's already in your cart. For example, tortilla chips for the salsa on your list. Stumped for a meal idea? The application also has a database of more than 30,000 recipes. Pick one and the ingredients will automatically integrate with your existing list, making your trip simple.

Pettyjohn refers to aisle411 as a 'shopping companion,' which marries the use of mobile technology with time and money savings.

'The three arrows on our logo represent the shopper, the retailer and the products,' Pettyjohn said. 'Aisle411 brings them together where X marks the spot for an efficient and productive shopping experience. It's all about making shopping quicker and easier.'